Recipes for this story
Strawberry & Spring Onion Salad
Rosemary Lamb Chops
Lemon-Thyme Sorbet with Lemon-Coconut Cookies
Text by Krissa Rossbund
Photographs by Dominique Vorillon
When making wedding preparations, brides often go with classic white. Not only for the dress, but for their wedding china, too. But as their design preferences evolve, so do their personal styles. As a result, their white dinnerware may be retired to the back of the cabinet just as the wedding dress is relegated to the back of the closet.
Los Angeles event planner Rachel Hollis, shown above, was asked by friends to update the white china they chose at the time of their wedding. Things have changed--the couple now has three grown children and different tastes. For a family gathering, Rachel surrounded the pretty but simple china with table linens in a warm palette and complemented it with patterned service plates, creating an interesting layered and up-to-date ensemble.
"I often find that my clients stop using their wedding china altogether because their tastes change, which is sad--it's such an important part of family history," says Rachel. "But it's simple to pair existing china, especially if it's white, with accent plates and chargers to make it more current."
For this occasion, Rachel chose service plates in a paisley pattern made up of tiny mosaic-like squares of snappy turquoise, burgundy, yellow, and burnt orange.
The service plates inspired the new linens. Together, they're not overly matchy, but they come from the same color family. A runner in a large floral pattern layers over a rich burgundy tablecloth. Linen napkins in turquoise pull another color from the service plates. Each napkin is gathered at its center by a simple hammered-brass napkin ring.
As a nod to the past, Rachel used Waterford's "Lismore" pattern water glasses, a classic for brides since 1952. But she also used gold-flecked Murano wineglasses and champagne flutes to add sparkle.
"There's no need to keep old things in a box because they don't fit your design sensibilities anymore," says Rachel. "Everything can be repurposed or given new life if you use your imagination."